Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Planets overboard

I recognized early on that this piece had too much going on. Too many colors, shapes and textures.

Planets of Durham, stitched watercolor, 2014.

But I didn't care, because it was an experiment with trying different techniques.

Detail of textures.

I haven't figured out how to bring the solvent ink shapes into my stitched watercolors. I think it might be able to work with a far simpler background image.

First go around of planets.

Next time I'll keep it quieter.

I experimented with solvent ink hexagons.

But, even if this is an overboard, failed piece, I like it because I was reminded how much I love color and how much I have to be selective with it.

Too much going on, but it was a fun learning process.

Time to get back to playing.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

String Box 3 & Red O

I've been trying to be more focused with my work and spend more time making a mess and playing than keeping my apartment perfectly neat.

Detail from String Box 3.

This tiny space is my current studio. I've given myself permission to be a little sloppier in my place.

String Box 3, hand embroidery on watercolor painted watercolor paper.

Finished two pieces this weekend!

In the sun.

First up, String Box 3. A stitched watercolor.

Next up, Red O.

Red O. Solvent ink stencil over acrylic paint.

The stencil is by Cat Manolis, my teacher at ArtSpace Raleigh. I'm loving playing with solvent inks.

Making a happy mess with solvent ink and painter's tape.

Ink is a whole new world to explore!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saturated (Color and life)

And now.... Scenes from my ongoing obsession with saturated colors.

WIP: String Box 3. Hand embroidery on watercolor paper.

I'm making a String Box stitched watercolor just for me.

WIP: early scene, String Box 3.

Pearle cotton, No 8. Black, blue, pink and yellow,

Painting watercolors in my beloved saturated pinks, reds and yellows.

My recent experiences with my boyfriend and friends in the California desert exposed me to an entirely different color palette.

Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert.

Hiking to an oasis in the overwhelming heat bleached out my mind and vision. But the rusts, browns and smokey greens were as intense as my saturated pinks and yellows.

The textures, too.

So much to explore visually with these entirely different hues.

And finally, I'm taking a wonderful painting and design class at Artspace in Raleigh for the next several weeks. Artist and designer Cat Manolis is our instructor. She shot this photo and made this stencil of my face for me.

Stencil by Cat Manolis. Painted layers by me.

This stencil will be played with and explored in the coming months. For now, here it is in solvent ink on and layered acrylic background.

Stitch-speration in the sky.
And, for no good reason, except that I'm happy... fireworks!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

50 by 50 Stitches on my Spanish eyes

A tiny section complete of my overly ambitious x stitch self portrait of my eyes. Tiny, but still, woot!

First 50 x 50 section completed.

I'm finding it helps to break this piece down into 50 x 50 stitch squares. Otherwise I'll go mad with longing to see it come together.

The long view: One tiny section on the path.

Which is strange. I've always been a "process" maker who loves to plan and slowly build a piece. In the face of a pressure-filled and busy time at my corporate day job, I find myself having a harder time transitioning into the slowed-down process time.

My work kit spread out on my sofa.

This frustrates me. I'm hoping that, by being conscious of this trend, I can be less tortured by it.

PA and PE, 1990. By Peter Alexander at the Getty.

Headed to LA this week. (2014 has been a wonderful travel year so far!) What I'm most excited by? Spending time with the lovely family we're visiting, exploring Joshua Tree National Park and my first ever Dodgers game. And the fascinating LA grid, which is beautifully interpreted by Peter Alexander in PA and PE.

Interpreting these eyes in stitch.
For now, back into the corporate salt mines, I go.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Outside of my normal - a crafty kitty

Last month I was asked to take part in an online experiment for embroidery bloggers. Alyssa Thomas, the designer and owner of Penguin and Fish, sent me a very simple and charming crafty kitty pattern. Although I rarely use patterns or stitch kitties, I loved her injunction to do whatever the hell we wanted to do with the design, so I went for it.

Craft Cat. Hand embroidery on watercolor paper.

Crafty Cat was stitched into a painted watercolor paper background, on top of stitched fish scales. I wrote about the experiment on Mr X Stitch.

I want a cat.


Penguin and Fish featured a collection of all of the experiments on their blog. There are some talented stitchers out there, including Nicole Vos van Avezathe and Leigh Bowser. Ch-ch-ch-check it out!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pixels of Time, Pixels of Stitch

I'm struck by how stitching a cross stitch is like building an image in the form of pixels -- each little x is a point in space grabbed from our vision and transformed into a threaded pixel.


As I get back to work on the self portrait of my eyes, I'm reminded of the beauty in stitching. How it transforms our visual perception of the world by slowing everything down. Each tiny stitch turns our vision into a threaded moment.

Building the image of my eyes, stitch by stitch.

This is true in terms of the time it takes to translate imagery to stitch (the experience of capturing the image by putting the needle into the fabric) and in the tiny physical space of the stitch itself. For example, at burst of light in the contour of my eye socket becomes both a pixel of thread and a pixel of time -- the moment of time it takes to make the stitch.   

Transforming a contour into thread.

I've only worked on one other x stitch -- Frame 11 for Aubrey Longley-Cook's RuStitch animation.

Wild Durham Springtime, 2014.

Very slowly getting back in the a groove with my art practice. Rebuilding it pixel by pixel in the green Springtime.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stitchsperation Abudanza

Charles Bridge, shapes, Prague.

Rome. Venice. Prague. Three very different cities I recently visited with my mother. At the risk of sounding achingly cliche, I was overcome with an abundance of inspiration for my artwork.

Colusseum, shapes, Rome.

John Lennon Wall, texture, Prague.

Room of Maps, color, composition, layers, Vatican City.

I break down the visual inspiration taken from these photos into three categories: Texture, color, composition.

Under the Charles Bridge, shapes, Prague.

Texture, light, Rome.

Saturated life, Rome.

The colors in Italy are the colors I live in. The ochre, burnt umber, saturated hues.

Composition, colors, saturated life, Venice.

The gothic edges to Prague capture a layer of my disposition. Like dark, lacy lines overlaid on other images.

Texture, shapes, Prague.

Texture, composition, gothic edges to life, Prague.

And everywhere, the textures. And everywhere, watching the bursts caused by the sunlight.

Light, texture, Venice. 

Texture, color, Rome.

What you can't capture in these photos (and there is so much I can't capture) is the feeling of travel. The openness it brings to your imagination if you let it. And I try to always let it.

Composition, detail from Hall of Maps, Vatican City.

Mood, texture, composition, Old Jewish Cementery, Prague.

Composition, mood, carabinieri, Rome.

Especially at home. Must be open to your surroundings. Your world, both of the senses and of your emotions.

Light, color, Venice.

Color, layers, composition, Rome.

I will miss being called "bellissima." I felt like my most unrestricted self.

Colors, Rome.

Everything. Paul Klee at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice.

I felt bellissima.